WHO reform: the debate
A collection of resources published by the Medicus Mundi international Network
for the Democratizing Global Health Coalition on the WHO Reform (DHG)
"The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends." About WHO www.who.int
"The world needs a global health guardian, a protector and defender of health, including the right to health." Margaret Chan, September 2011 www.euro.who.int
"The reform should be guided by public interest values and a clear vision of health for all, and its rationale must be based on a solid analysis of the challenges that WHO faces and their root causes. Such analysis has not been made available till now." (DGH core statement)
Introduction to the reform pages of the WHO website:
"The process of reform is Member State-driven and inclusive. The three objectives were defined at the Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly and at the Executive Board’s 129th session.
- Improved health outcomes, with WHO meeting the expectations of its Member States and partners in addressing agreed global health priorities, focused on the actions and areas where the Organization has a unique function or comparative advantage, and financed in a way that facilitates this focus.
- Greater coherence in global health, with WHO playing a leading role in enabling the many different actors to play an active and effective role in contributing to the health of all peoples.
- An Organization that pursues excellence; one that is effective, efficient, responsive, objective, transparent and accountable"
After the World Health Assembly with the adoption of the Twelfth WHO General Programm of Work and the Programme Budget 2014–2015, and after EB session in May 2013 and the start of the "financing dialogue" in June 2013, the focus of the further reform process is now expected to be on the governance reform. Key issues are the role of WHO in global health governance, and WHO's relations with non-state actors.
Change@WHO. January 2014 issue of a WHO newsletter on the reform process
WHO reform, stage 2 evaluation by PricewaterhouseCoopers SA.
Final Report, 18 November 2013
Reform process at the 67th World Health Assembly and the 135th session of the WHO Executive Board, May 2014
- Documents not yet available
- Second informal consultation on WHO’s engagement with non-State actors, March 2014, and WHO background document
Reform process at the 134th session of the WHO Executive Board,
20-25 January 2014
WHO reform: reform implementation plan and report
WHO reform: Options for improved decision-making by the governing bodies
Streamlining national reporting and communication with Member States
Framework of engagement with non-State actors
- with document "Mapping of WHO engagement with non-State actors"
PWC Report: second stage evaluation on WHO reform
Informal consultation on WHO’s engagement with non-state
Meeting in Geneva, 17-18 October 2013
- Summary report: WHO_nonstateactors_report_oct2013.pdf
- Discussion paper: NonStateActor_discussion_paper.pdf
- Presentation: Due diligence, management of risks & transparency
- Website: www.who.int/about/who_reform including reference documents on WHO’s engagement with non-State actors.
- Benchmark for the NGO policy process: "Towards a new policy of WHO engagement with NGOs": WHO issues paper for NGO consultation, October 2012
WHO financing dialogue
June and November 2013
- Investing in the World’s Health Organization: Brochure PDF
- New WHO program budget portal: extranet.who.int
- WHO financing dialogue: WHO website
Evaluation of WHO reform process
- WHO reform, stage 2 evaluation by PricewaterhouseCoopers SA. Final report, 18 November 2013
Reform process at the 66th World Health Assembly, 20-28 May 2013,
and the 133rd session of the WHO Executive Board, 29-30 May 2013
"WHO’s priority setting process dominated the reform discussion at the WHA – Member States endorsed the outcome of the February Member State’s meeting on programmes and priority setting while recognizing that special emphasis should be given to determinants of health. A number of reforms across the governance and managerial programmatic streams were endorsed and the Secretariat was asked to move forward including implementation. In other areas such as the financing of WHO Member States asked the Secretariat to revisit the issue at a special session of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee (PBAC) scheduled for early December." (WHO)
- WHO reform: High-level implementation plan and report.
- WHO reform: Financing of WHO
- Draft Twelfth WHO General Programm of Work
Document A66/6 with related resolutionA66/6 Add.1
- Proposed programme budget 2014–2015
Document A66/7 with related resolution A66/7 Add.1
- WHO Governance report. Report by the secretariat
reform, Governance: options for criteria for inclusion, exclusion or
deferral of items on the provisional agenda of the Executive Board.
Report by the Director-General
- Administration and management cost study
- Documents related to other elements of the WHO reform are not yet available.
Provisional summary records of WHO and EB sessions related to the WHO reform:
- 66nd WHA, Second meeting of Committee A
- 66nd WHA, Third meeting of Committee A
- WHO EB 133, Second meeting
- WHO EB 133, Third meeting
Reform process at the 67th World Health Assembly and the 135th session of the WHO Executive Board, May 2014. Civil society statements, comments, resources
- WHO Watch preliminary comments on WHA agenda items:
WHA 11.1 Reform implementation plan and report (PHM comment).
WHA 11.2 Improved decision-making by the governing bodies (PHM comment)
WHA 11.3 Framework of engagement with non-State actors (PHM comment)
WHA 11.4 Financing dialogue (PHM comment)
WHA 11.5 Strategic resource allocation (PHM comment)
WHA 11.6 Financing of administrative and management costs (PHM comment)
- IBFAN Comment: Opening the door to Business lobbying-what’s wrong with the new WHO policy proposals, 26th March 2014
Reform process at the 134th session of the WHO Executive Board,
20-25 January 2014. Civil society statements, comments, resources
- Democratising Global Health Coalition on the WHO Reform (DGH):
Review of document EB 134/8 on engagement with non-State actors
- MMI/PHM statement on non-State actors
- Consumers International statement on non-State actors
Informal consultation on WHO’s engagement with non-state actors,
Meeting in Geneva, 17-18 October 2013
- Democratising Global Health Coalition on the WHO Reform (DGH) before the consultation meeting: statement of concern
- Democratising Global Health Coalition on the WHO Reform (DGH) after the consultation meeting: comments on the WHO discussion paper
Reform process at the World Health Assembly 2013
Civil society statements, comments, resources
PHM / MMI
- WHA: Statement by PHM and MMI on the 12th Global Program of Work
- WHA: Statement by PHM and MMI on WHO Reform
- EB: PHM Comment on WHO role in Global Health Goverance
- EB: Statement by PHM and MMI WHO engagement with non-state actors
- EB: IBFAN brief comments on WHO’s engagement with non-state actors
- WHO Secretariat fails to act on WHA decision on relations with non-state actors
IBFAN digest of discussions at the 133rd Executive Board on WHO’s engagement with non-state actors (NSA)
WHO reform and Global Health Governance:
Inputs from a DGH briefing on 7 May 2013
- Nicoletta Dentico: The WHO reform and the financing aspects: an auction by stealth?
- Patti Rundall: Protecting WHO’s independence (7 MB)
- Thomas Schwarz: Democratic governance - at global and national level
- See our chronological overview of the process
- WHO reform story:
- WHO reform process: WHO website
- Online tool: WHO Reform implementation plan
- April 2013 newsletter on WHO reform: Change@WHO
- Democratising Global Health Coalition on the WHO Reform (DGH)
"The Democratising Global Health Coalition on the WHO Reform (DGH) gathers a group of public interest NGOs and individuals committed to the realization of the right to health based on equity and universality, who highly value the constitutional mandate of the WHO for the realization of this right worldwide. We believe the stakes around the WHO are too high for the public health community NOT to be properly informed and come with a united voice, whenever possible, to safeguard the role for public policy and action that the WHO is mandated to serve. The DGH Coalition invites those public-interest organisations and citizens that share the same concerns on the WHO process, and vision for the future of WHO, to sign up to this statement and become members of the DGH coalition. United, we can make a much greater impact." Since its beginning, the MMI Network is an active member, co-organizer and promoter of the DGH Coalition and hosts DGH representatives in its delegation to the meetings of the WHO Governing Bodies.
> DGH core statement www.bit.ly/dgh-statement
> DGH partners (2012): www.democratisingglobalhealth.org
> DGH side event at 65th WHA: www.bit.ly/65wha-whoreform-sideevent
> DGH documents and statements are published on this page
- WHO Watch
"WHO is the paramount health authority at the global level and needs to be strengthened and reformed and properly funded to play this role. WHO Watch seeks to generate support for a reformed WHO restored to its proper place in global health governance. WHO Watch aims to support wider knowledge of, and participation in, the various engagements across the broader field of global health governance. We are aiming to change the balance of power framing global decisions which impact on health. WHO Watch is the first phase of broader ambition, the Democratising of Global Health Governance." WHO Watch is a joint project of Medicus Mundi International, People's Health Movement, Third World Network, Medico International and Health Action International. (MMI provides global hosting. PHM coordinates the watching and maintains the website. MI is a donor as well as partner. TWN and HAI provide technical guidance.) Regional watching depends on a further range of local partners.
> www.ghwatch.org/who-watch/topics/whoreform - topic page on WHO reform
- No consensus on draft WHO policy on non-state
actors. Alexandra Bhattacharya
- World Health Organization: past, present and
future. Special issue of Public Health Journal
- WHO: retirement or reinvention? K. Lee and T. Pang
- Reforming WHO: the art of the possible. Andrew Cassels et al.
- Democratizing the WHO. Remco van de Pas
- WHO: Towards health-equitable globalisation. Remco van de Pas
- UN health agencies need vision more than
reform. Jon Lidén
- WHO is the untransparent exception in the UN
for not webcasting its Meetings. Amir Attaran et al.
- January meeting of WHO
EB tackled reform, engagement with non-state actors. Catherine Saez
- Decentralisation and WHO reform: The broader
- WHO’s engagement with “non-state actors”. Remco van de Pas
- A special
role for WHO in creation of a living global health governance constitution. M.
"comatose" WHO reclaim its role in crowded global health governance
landscape? van der Rijt/Pang
paper on WHO’s role in global health governance: slow progress; weakest link in
overall reform process?
budgetary allocation and disease burden. Ikuma Nozaki
- WHO reform: A personal perspective. Ilona Kickbusch
- The 66th
World Health Assembly: Re-enforcing WHO’s role in global health? Remco van de Pas
- Dark sides of the proposed Framework Convention on Global Health’s many virtues: A systematic review and critical analysis. Steven J. Hoffman and John-Arne Røttingen
WHO: Progress to date in restructuring global health’s foremost Institution.
Kamradt-Scott / Sangiorgio
- Governance for health in the 21st century. Ilona Kickbusch and David Gleicher for WHO Europe
- WHO gets
a grip on budget. Reforms increase flexibility, shift spending towards NCD.
- Global health democracy (starts at home). Thomas Schwarz www.medicusmundi.org/en/mmi-network/documents/newsletter/201305 …
and WHO reform - a new working paper from the Global Health Programme Geneva
The role of the World Health Organization in the international system. Charles Clift, Chatham House Working Group on Governance
WHO’s engagement with non-state actors: The challenge of maintaining integrity and independence. Miriam M. Sangiorgio
- WHO Executive Board concludes after ‘unpredecented’ workload
This report by William New, Intellectual Property Watch, includes reports and references to the WHO reform debate and the "draft decision points" for the reform developed by member states in a series of sessions not open for observers
- The 132nd Executive Board meeting of the WHO and the institutionalization of multi-bi financing. Remco van de Pas, January 2013
- WHO Watchers' summary of EB procedings: WHO reform discussion
Benefits of decentralized WHO outweigh challenges. WHO Europe reports on side event to WHO EB session
Is the WHO ready for a rising Africa? Kristof Decoster
- Teeth for the Tiger. Strengthening the Role of the World Health Organisation in Global Health. AfGH Conference Report, October 2012
- Future of WHO hangs in the balance
David Legge, October 2012
- Can WHO survive?
Richard Horton, October 2012
- Will the WHO reform bring money, voice and power behind public health?
Rangarirai Machemedze, October 2012
- Who’s funding WHO?
Andrew Harmer, June 2012
- (WHO donors) Gates Foundation, US, UK, Canada, Rotary Int., Norway and GAVI: Setting the agenda for global public health?
Thiru Balasubramaniam, June 2012
- Global health — an end of term report
Richard Horton, May 2012
- Reinventing the World Health Organization
Thomas Bollyky, May 2012
- Healthy governance. How the WHO can regain its relevance
By Devi Sridhar et al., May 2012
- Who is really helping WHO?
Andreas Zumach, May 2012
- Difficult task of setting priorities at the WHO
Amanda Glassman, May 2012
- Urgent need for WHO's reform to prioritise core functions
Mohga Kamal-Yanni and Philippa Saunders, May 2012
- Global health governance and financing mechanisms
Samantha Battams and Thiago Luchesi, May 2012
- The European Union's voice and influence on global health and the reform of the World Health Organisation: the role of diplomacy
Samantha Battams, Remco van de Pas, Louise van Schaik, May 2012
- The WHO must reform for its own health
Tikki Pang and Laurie Garrett, May 2012
- The Reform of the WHO
Petronellar Nyagura, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zimbabwe in Geneva, May 2012
- WHO reform and public interest safeguards: An historical perspective
Judith Richter in: Social Medicine, April 2012 (also in Spanish)
- WHO under siege from private sector
Tom Fawthrop in: Third World Resurgence, January/February 2012
- WHO Reform debate to continue, February fixed for member-driven priority setting
K. M. Gopakumar & Sangeeta Shashikant, TWN Info, January 2012
- The World Health Organisation, its reform and its relevance
Remco van de Pas, Wemos, Get involved blog, January 2012
- Overhaul needed on rules on WHO-NGO' relationship
Sangeeta Shashikant, TNW SUNS, January 2012, quoted from Ip-health
- WHO Reform: threats and opportunities. A healthier political functioning
Centre for Global Health Policy and Innovation Blog, January 2012
- Action to preserve WHO's core functions cannot wait for organisational reform
Mohga M Kamal-Yanni, Oxfam, in: Lancet, January 2012
- WHO Reform: Fit for purpose or fit for plucking?
David Legge, Afro-Nets, January 2012
- WHO reform at crossroads
Mihály Kökény, EurActiv, December 2011
- A healthier political functioning. WHO Reform: threats and opportunities
Eduardo Missoni in: Bulletin of Medicus Mundi Switzerland, December 2011
- Global health leadership and the mandate of the WHO
Iboro Ekpo Nta, Evolutionary content dissertation, November 2011
- Third World Network: analysis of WHO EB Special Session
K.M. Gopakumar and Heba Wanis, 2 November 2011 (pdf)
K. M. Gopakumar and Sangeeta Shashikant, 11 November 2011 (pdf)
- PHM comment on WHO consolidated reform paper
For WHO EB Special Session, 1-3 November 2011
- Comment on WHO Reform Papers
Third World Network, 16 September 2011
- Save WHO! Background to current WHO reform initiatives and possible advocacy messages
David Legge on: Global Health Watch, September 2011
- WHO reform: members only (?)
Comment by Thomas Schwarz, August 2011
- “Irrelevant” WHO outpaced by younger rivals
Nigel Hawkes in BMJ, August 2011 (extract only, no free access to the full text)
- WHO: Vague and inadequate reform plans criticised, nothing on financing
Sangeeta Shashikant on: TWN Info Service, July 2011
- WHO’s reform – a key challenge for the Member States
Ilona Kickbusch in: Health Diplomacy Monitor, June 2011, p. 3 (pdf)
- WHO: Members' pressure leads to more inclusive reform process
K. M. Gopakumar and S. Shashikant on: TWN Info Service, June 2011
- Leveraging the World Health Organization’s Core Strenghts
Margaret Reeves, Suzanne Brundage, CSIS report, May 2011
- Revamp for WHO
Declan Butler in: Nature, May 2011
- The future of financing for WHO
Medicus Mundi International Network: statement at WHA, May 2011
- The future of financing for WHO
PHM statement at WHA, May 2011
- Conflicts of Interest and the Future of Financing for WHO
Health Action International (HAI) during WHA, May 2011
- STOP the World Health Forum
The IBFAN position during WHA, May 2011
- The future of financing for WHO
World Health Organization: reforms for a healthy future. Report by WHO DG to World Health Assembly (WHA document A64/4) and development plan (document A64_ID5-en), May 2011
- Time to untie the knots: the WHO reform and the need of democratizing
global health. "Delhi Statement", May 2011
- How to set priorities for WHO
Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Graduate Institute Global Health Programme Working Paper. May 2011 http://graduateinstitute.ch
- WHO reform: construction work ahead!
Comment by Thomas Schwarz, May 2011
the World Health Organization
Devi Sridhar and Lawrence O. Gostin in: JAMA (2011)
- The WHO and Global Health Governance
Ad hoc advisory meeting, Geneva, 11 March 2011. A report and analysis for MMI and PHM can be ordered at the MMI secretariat
WHO summary report
- Is the WHO becoming irrelevant?
Why the world's premier public health organization must change or die. JC Chow in: FP (2010)
- A stronger voice of civil society at the World Health Assembly?
Comment by Thomas Schwarz, June 2010
- Making WHO Work Better: An Advocacy Agenda for Civil Society
A discussion document produced by the Global Health Watch (2006)
This section of the guide is updated monthly
Source: MMI updates on Twitter
See also our thematic guide "Global Health Governance"
- the issues are closely related
Short URL of this page: www.bit.ly/whoreformguide